Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dogwood Apparition

The new painting (above) was started about a month ago, the idea was to have the background resemble a black and white photo, with the action and dogwood providing the color in the foreground, sounds simple, right? The problem was with the gray tones, the formula for that color was a mix of; ultramarine blue, chrome green, raw sienna and burnt sienna. With that many colors in the recipe it was nearly impossible to duplicate the hue on a consistent basis. I could have changed the formula but I loved the gray this combo produced. By week three I had it down and painting progressed smoothly. I might have to make a few adjustments but for now I think its finished. What next?... after staring at these muted tones for so long I am craving a big gaudy clown painting... "hand me that cadmium red".

Above: Dogwood (Apparition) oil canvas 40x35

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Even with my AC window unit cranked the studio rarely gets below 85 degrees during the day, which is not too bad, but what really bothers is what this heat does to paint. Hot atmospheric conditions wreck havoc on what gets mixed on the palette, within a couple of hours my colors are usually a gummy mess. This gets scrapped off and mixing begins again. If I am applying a glaze it will start setting up within minutes, gotta work fast. The subtleties of oil painting can never be learned from a book, experience is the only way. There are times when the paint seems to have a mind of its own and I am just a sorcerer attempting to coax magic from tinted dirt.

Above: The Magician (20x18 Fr) oil panel 2008, (one of the rare paintings of mine that has an interior setting) available at TEW Galleries Atlanta

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The $10 Tomato

Every year about this time "I swear I am never planting a garden again". Calling what I attempt to grow "a garden" is a bit of a stretch, for the past several years mine amounts to a few tomato plants and some herbs. Our small city lot has been taken over by decorative shrubs, the studio and shady trees, no space for crops. This was not always the case, in the '90's I had a nice 5 by 16ft. fertile plot where, depending on the year, yielded tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and okra. That space was abandoned several years ago, no sun. My new strategy?, large pots I could position depending on the sun, accept for the herbs, not much success. This year I bought one super-duper hybrid tomato plant, quality potting soil, plant food and was determined to get fresh tomatoes. With careful watering it was looking good. I had about 12 fruits in various stages of development when I picked the one you see above. Came out the next morning, destruction, squirrels had decimated the plant, green tomatoes, flowering tops all gone, thus my $10 tomato, and it was delicious.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

4th of July

Americana (noun plural): materials concerning or characteristic of America

I get what this holiday is all about,The Declaration Of Independence and the founding of a nation. That's cool, but what really floats my patriotic boat are the features unique to this land and the spirit that surrounds this concept of America: Coney Island and Graceland, the Grand Canyon and the Okefenokee Swamp, Jazz, Hip Hop and Rock n Roll, Norman Rockwell and Jeff Koons, Eastwood and De Niro, Ella and Beyonce , cheesesteak and corndogs.....,this is a long list. It's not always pretty (understatement), and when the monuments have all crumbled Little Richard will still be playing in outer space, "a wop bop a loo bop a wop bamm boo". They don't "hate us for our freedoms" they hate us because our bar-b-que kicks ass. And those outside the borders that look upon us with fondness and support?, it's because of that list above. You will know this great experiment is in decline not when we stop making Chryslers but when we can no longer produce a Steve Jobs or a Bob Dylan.

Top: One Man Band, 24x22 oil on panel 2007 (private collection, I think)
Bottom: 2009 fireworks Centennial Park, Atlanta
Today? I'm going to the Braves game, fireworks will follow, might have to bust out Dad's red, white and blue stripped polyester pants.